Virginia distillery, founder indicted in illegal wastewater dumping case

Jan. 21, 2021

Virginia’s attorney general recently indicted Filibuster Distillery and its founder, Sid Dilawri, on 115 counts of violating the State Water Control Law by dumping more than 40,000 gallons of industrial waste into a stream in Shenandoah County.

The indictments come after a two-year investigation by the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ),

Charges were handed down by a grand jury after presentation by the Office of the Attorney General and are the first criminal indictments related to environmental violations brought by the Office of the Attorney General and DEQ.

“DEQ unequivocally values Virginia’s waterways and works with vigor to protect them every day,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “Today, DEQ took necessary steps to carry out our mission to protect and improve the environment for the health, well-being and quality of life of all Virginians. With cooperation and support from the Office of the Attorney General, DEQ will continue to hold violators accountable.”

According to the indictments, the dumping of waste primarily occurred in November 2018, but the distillery continued to discharge industrial water with excessive levels of zinc and copper until at least September 2020. Dilawri initially denied that any dumping occurred and then claimed that there was a one-time accident at the distillery. However, he later admitted that he had given false information to law enforcement authorities and that he had known about the dumping. DEQ staff, along with the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal Dave Ferguson and other authorities, have investigated the impact of the dumping on the stream as well as on the local community and worked with Attorney General Herring’s Environmental Section to bring this prosecution.

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